Gas prices up slightly

| September 3, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Gas prices are on the move in Idaho and across the country.

AAA says that Gem State prices are up 2 cents in a week and that the U.S. average jumped a nickel as Hurricane Laura and end-of-summer road trips motivated more drivers to fill up.

And with 97 percent of travelers choosing their car over other modes of transportation for a summer getaway, gas prices could continue to climb heading into Labor Day.

“If fuel demand trails off after Labor Day, as we would expect during a typical year, drivers should see some nice savings when they fill up throughout the fall,” says Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “Of course, ‘typical’ isn’t a word we’ve been using a lot lately, and with good reason. Pent-up travel demand and the possibility of a record-setting hurricane season still have the potential to change the landscape in a hurry.”

Location data company Arrivalist projects that Labor Day holiday road trip volume will be down just 5.3% compared to last year. An estimated 42.5 million Americans will still hit the road over the extended weekend. The data comes from the company’s launch of an improved Daily Travel Index that now includes year-over-year insights.

“Americans continue to seek respite on the road,” says Arrivalist Founder and CEO Cree Lawson. “These latest projections are a promising sign for the travel industry.”

The average price of regular in Idaho is $2.45, which is 4 cents higher than a month ago,but 36 cents less than a year ago. The current national average is $2.23, which is 4 cents higher than a month ago and 35 cents less than a year ago. Idaho currently ranks eighth in the country for the highest gas prices.

Gas prices in Kootenai County ranged from about $2.24 for a gallon of unleaded to around $2.38.

“It’s still really warm in most parts of the state, but if you’re heading up into the backcountry, the temperatures are starting to drop overnight,” Conde says. “Even if you’re planning a simple day trip, it’s not a bad idea to toss a couple of emergency blankets, an extra change of clothes and an emergency kit into your car in case you run into trouble in a remote area.”